EXPERTS say although banks do many things, their primary role is to take in funds—called deposits—from those with money, pool them, and lend them to those who need funds.
In essence, banks are intermediaries between depositors, who lend money to the bank and borrowers, to whom the bank lends money.
The amount banks pay for deposits and the income they receive on their loans are both called interest.
The International Monetary Fund adds that banks also play a central role in the transmission of monetary policy, one of the government’s most important tools for achieving economic growth without inflation.
The central bank controls the money supply at the national level, while banks facilitate the flow of money in the markets within which they operate.
At personal or corporate level, bank accounts offer convenience.
For example, if you have a bank account, you can easily pay via transfer for goods and services, without the hassle of travelling to the banking hall to withdraw money and then visit your service provider.
Bank accounts are also safe.
Your money will be protected from theft and fires and other unforeseen inconveniences, and using a bank account means that you easily qualify for services from banks such as requesting for loans because you will already be a client with a proven track record.
It therefore boggles the mind why an established company like Lobels Biscuits and Sweets lost over US$80 000 after burglars broke into its premises in Bulawayo’s Belmont industrial areas recently.
According to police, the suspects also made off with R16 739, P950, $110 266 in local currency and a laptop worth US$400.
The huge amounts involved indicate that the money had been accumulating in the office over time, unless some huge business deal was made on a single day on that fateful weekend.
Nonetheless, Lobels Biscuits and Sweets chief operating officer Mr Andrew Dinhidza told our sister paper, Chronicle, that the money which was stolen was late payment by clients and was supposed to have been taken to the bank on Monday.
“Just before knocking off on Friday, we had customers coming to pay.
We don’t work on weekends and the intention was to deposit that money on Monday with our banks,” he said.
Nonetheless, we believe corporates must make alternative arrangements to have huge amounts of money sent to the bank at any given time.
Banks are there to offer a service, and there are security companies who can also transport the money on any given day.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube also urged businesses to desist from keeping large sums of money on their premises.
“As police we continue to urge people who operate businesses to utilise banking facilities in light of an increase in cases of unlawful entry into premises and theft,” he said.
Cases of unlawful entry, theft and robbery are on the increase in Bulawayo.
Last month, armed robbers struck at Revelation Church of God in Bulawayo, beating up a pastor and two other congregants, before getting away with building funds: R20 000, US$300 and $10 000 in local currency.
The five robbers, who were allegedly armed with axes, bolt cutters and a metal rod, struck in the dead of the night.
More cases of armed robbery were reported last year, an indication that hard core criminals were targeting premises where large sums of money are kept or exchange hands, and the trend gets worse as more companies lay their hands on foreign currency.